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Minn. 17B House race heads to DFL primary

WILLMAR -- Two Willmar DFLers will face off in a primary election this summer in the House of Representatives 17B race. On Thursday, DFL delegates from Kandiyohi County endorsed Mary Sawatzky on a vote of 60 to 36, over Jessica Rohloff. At that t...

WILLMAR -- Two Willmar DFLers will face off in a primary election this summer in the House of Representatives 17B race.

On Thursday, DFL delegates from Kandiyohi County endorsed Mary Sawatzky on a vote of 60 to 36, over Jessica Rohloff.

At that time Rohloff told the delegates she would not suspend her campaign if she wasn't endorsed. But in a later interview said she would take time over the weekend to make a final decision on whether she would challenge Sawatzky in a primary election.

In an email message Monday afternoon, Rohloff said that after "reflection and discussion with my supporters" she had decided to continue her pursuit of the House seat in District 17B, which includes all of Kandiyohi County except for a few southern townships.

"I believe I am the candidate with the best hope and most fervent desire to bring our community together and end partisan grid lock," said Rohloff.

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"I open the conversation to both big ideas and practical matters that affect the everyday citizen in our area. I represent a strong independent rural voice and am ready to take my message to the larger voting public," she said.

Swatazky said she was disappointed by Rohloff's decision to wage a primary challenge. "But that's her decision to make," said Sawatzky. "I'm going to go forward to do my job campaigning as the endorsed candidate for Kandiyohi County."

The DFL winner of the primary will face Rep. Bruce Vogel, R-Willmar, in the general election in November.

Carolyn Lange is a features writer at the West Central Tribune. She can be reached at clange@wctrib.com or 320-894-9750
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